AVwebBiz Complete Issue: Volume 9, Number 45

November 23, 2011

By The AVweb Editorial Staff
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AVflash! Uncertain Future of Flight Data back to top 
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"Unified Voice" Sought In FAA Chart Issue

AOPA says it's hoping to organize a "unified voice" from aviation chart providers for a Dec. 13 meeting in which the FAA will lay out at least some of its plans to restructure the distribution of online navigation data. As AVweb reported Nov. 13, the FAA intends to stop universal free access to online products hosted by AeroNav. Instead, as of April 5, 2012, only entities with signed distribution agreements will have access to the downloads and there will be an as-yet undisclosed fee for those downloads. In a posting on its website Tuesday, AOPA said it met with FAA officials in August and October and will bring the issue up again at an open house being held Dec. 6, a week ahead of the meeting with stakeholders. The FAA has so far barred the media from attending the Dec. 13 meeting.

The FAA has said that it must cover the costs incurred by the creation, hosting and distribution of the online products but it has also said safety is an issue in that it currently has no way of ensuring the integrity of the information after it has been downloaded. By making distributors sign an agreement to ensure the charts are not altered or information left out, it says it will enhance safety. But AOPA says it and the industry are concerned that limiting availability to the information will have the opposite effect and actually create flight safety issues. The relatively new industry that has grown up around creating chart and navigation apps for consumer electronics (like iPads) is concerned the fees will force them to price their products out of the market and leave it open to larger entities and companies to corner the online market for chart and nav products. In our interview with the FAA, they made it clear they in no way want to stifle the industry, create a monopoly or duopoly, or compromise safety. However, when we asked them what would happen if the minimum amount the FAA needs to recoup its costs in producing charts is more than the industry currently can pay, they could offer no answer or contingency plan.

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Good News for BARR? back to top 

Congress Shows Support For BARR

A bill that recently passed in Congress takes a major step toward reinstating the Block Aircraft Registration Request (BARR) program, NBAA said this week. The new appropriations bill contains a clause that prohibits the FAA from using any funds to prevent GA operators from blocking their flight data on public tracking sites. NBAA President Ed Bolen said the bill represents a clear "legislative victory," but the details of how the BARR program will be reinstated must still be worked out. The bill has been signed into law by President Obama.

"[Our attorneys] will undoubtedly meet with representatives of the Department of Transportation's legal team," Bolen said. "We will determine how best to go forward. But make no mistake: Congress has stepped in and said … the BARR program should continue as it existed from 2000 until August 2, 2011." NBAA and AOPA are also going forward with a court challenge. Arguments on the case are scheduled in federal court for Dec. 2.

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Military Contracts back to top 

Hawker Beechcraft Out Of Running For Light Attack Plane

The federal government has reportedly said the case is closed on Hawker Beechcraft's bid to sell a light attack version of its Texan II trainer to the Air Force. Realistically, that leaves only Brazil's Embraer Super Tucano in the running for the potential $1 billion deal. Hawker Beech was told last week that its version of the Pilatus PC-9 trainer was no longer a contender. The news shocked and puzzled the Wichita-based company and it asked for a review of the decision by the Government Accountability Office (GAO). According to KAKE TV the government has refused to review the decision made by the Air Force to exclude the aircraft from the competition. Hawker Beechcraft has sold hundreds of the aircraft as primary trainers to air forces all over the world and the company said in a statement last week that it thought it put in a good bid for the gunned-up version of the aircraft. "HBC's exclusion from competing for this important contract appears at this point to have been made without basis in process or fact," the company said in a statement. That doesn't necessarily mean Embraer wins, though.

The whole concept of using light single-engine aircraft in a combat role has had a rough ride in Congress. As we reported in October, Senate and House committees rejected a real-world test of the concept in Afghanistan. If the program goes ahead, Embraer will do the final assembly of Super Tucanos at a rebuilt hangar in Jacksonville and employ about 50 people.

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In the Pipeline: Gulfstream 650 back to top 

G650 On Track For 2012 Deliveries

Gulfstream Aerospace has received a provisional type certificate for its new Gulfstream G650 from the FAA, the company announced last week. The approval keeps the company on track to start completing the interiors and deliver the first jets to customers in the second quarter of next year. The $65 million jets will be the fastest in the civilian fleet, squeaking past Cessna's Citation X with speeds up to Mach .925. Test flights were suspended for two months after four people died in a crash during flight testing in April, but the program now is meeting the original delivery schedule, the company said.

The provisional certificate allows a manufacturer to operate the aircraft for demo flights, crew training, and service testing, but deliveries to customers must wait for the final certification approval. The two-step certification process helps manufacturers better manage their schedules, according to Larry Flynn, president of Gulfstream. Both the Gulfstream V and the G550 were issued PTCs before receiving full certification. More than 20 G650s are now in various stages of initial or final phase production and seven of the jets have flown in preparation to start the final phase of manufacturing. The G650 can fly for more than 14 consecutive hours, the company said, with a range of up to 7,000 nm.

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In the Pipeline: Cessna's Skycatcher back to top 

Skycatcher Price Climbs, Standard Features Added

Cessna has decided there will be no plane-Jane Skycatchers and is boosting the base price of the aircraft from $114,000 to a more feature-laden $149,000. However, less than half of the hefty increase is due to making things like an MFD, intercom and sun visor standard, features Cessna says most customers were ordering anyway. Cessna's Dianne White told EAA that about $20,000 of the increase is required to make the aircraft make money for the company. "The aviation world is a whole different picture than when the Skycatcher was announced and we must sell the airplane at a price that makes the program sustainable," EAA quotes White as saying.

The Skycatcher was introduced five years ago at a price of $109,000 and Cessna said at the time that the decision to build the aircraft in China was based on keeping the price in $100,000 neighborhood. The new price puts the Skycatcher at the upper end of the market for LSAs. Cessna told those holding positions on future deliveries that it had a few Skycatchers available at the old price on a first-come, first-served basis until the end of the year.

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Who's Where back to top 

Milestones: Superior Mourns Bob Moseley

Bob Moseley

Bob Moseley, Superior Air Parts' manager of technical support and training at the company's Beijing facility, died in his sleep Nov. 17. He joined the company in 2010.

James Promoted at Universal

Michelle James

Michelle James is the new Director of Marketing and Communications at Universal Avionics. She's been at Universal since 2000 and most recently served as Relationship Marketing Manager.

Who's Where? You Tell Us

Get a promotion or a new job? Your colleagues want to know about it, and AVwebBiz can get the word out. Drop us a line about the staff appointment, with a nice recent photo, and we'll do our best to include it in our new section, "Who's Where." The items will be permanently archived on AVweb for future reference, too.

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Opinion & Commentary back to top 

AVweb Insider Blog: Ramp Delays -- I Got My Education

In last week's blog, Paul Bertorelli opined about the $900,000 fine levied against American Eagle for busting the DOT's three-hour ramp delay rule. He asked for some feedback from the airline community, and in his latest post to the AVweb Insider, he says he got just that.

Read more and join the conversation.

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AVweb Media: Look, Listen, Laugh and Learn back to top 

Video: Jeppesen's Mobile FliteDeck (Part 1)

Original, Exclusive Videos from AVweb | Reader-Submitted & Viral Videos

Last summer, Jeppesen rolled out its iPad-based Mobile FliteDeck, a complete chart manager system for owners who already subscribe to Jeppesen's electronic charting products. In this video, AVweb launches the first of three Product Minutes to review the new app.

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Try disabling ad blockers and refreshing this page.
If that doesn't work, click here to download the video directly.

Video: Jeppesen's Mobile FliteDeck (Part 2)

Original, Exclusive Videos from AVweb | Reader-Submitted & Viral Videos

Jeppesen's new Mobile FliteDeck is a route-based app that compiles approach plates and procedures from Jeppesen's charting materials. In this video, part two of three, Paul Bertorelli takes a look at how its route functions work.

Don't see a video screen?
Try disabling ad blockers and refreshing this page.
If that doesn't work, click here to download the video directly.

The Top Reporter on Our Crack Staff ... Is You! back to top 

Survey: How's That Glass Panel Working Out?

Our sister publication, Aviation Consumer, is conducting a survey on owner experiences with early model EFIS systems such as the Garmin G1000 and Avidyne Entegra installed in OEM aircraft no newer that 2007. The magazine is interested in finding out how these systems have held up in the field. For this survey, we're interested only in OEM aircraft, not experimentals or LSAs and not aftermarket glass.

Click here to take the survey.

The results will appear in a future issue of Aviation Consumer. For subscription information, click here.

AVweb's Newstips Address ...

Our best stories start with you. If you've heard something 255,000 pilots might want to know about, tell us. Submit news tips via email to newstips@avweb.com. You're a part of our team ... often, the best part.

Names Behind the News back to top 

Meet the AVwebBiz Team

AVwebBiz is a weekly summary of the latest business aviation news, articles, products, features, and events featured on AVweb, the internet's aviation magazine and news service.

The AVwebBiz team is:

Timothy Cole

Editorial Director, Aviation Publications
Paul Bertorelli

Russ Niles

Contributing Editors
Mary Grady
Glenn Pew

Features Editor
Kevin Lane-Cummings

Scott Simmons

Jeff van West

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